HC Deb 04 May 1970 vol 801 cc21-2
20. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Conmonwealth Affairs what further steps, now that a new Italian Government has been formed, he intends to take to promote, Anglo-Italian friendship, following on the joint declaration made by the Italian and British Governments on the occasion of the visit of President Saragat to London.

Mr. George Thomson

We are always locking for ways to strengthen the existing good relations with the Italian Government. My right hon. Friend has accepted an invitation from the Italian Foreign Minister, Signor Moro, to have talks with him in Rome on 25th May, prior to attending the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council on 26th and 27th May.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

If the right hon. Gentleman is looking for a way, would not the most effective one be for the Government to abandon their present skin- flint and Philistine attitude towards the saving of Venice and make a financial contribution to the U.N.E.S.C.O. fund to save Venice from sinking into her lagoon?

Mr. Thomson

That is a quite different question. As I have told the hon. Member on other occasions, the responsibility in this respect is that of the Italian Government, while we recognise that Venice itself is part of the great international heritage of European culture.